The new development of science and technology is contemporarily attaining high achievement in countless area including health and family procreation. However, the new system of Medical Technological Assisted Procreation despite its essentiality few couples know about this inclusive those in Rwanda.
Yet the system has wiped out tears of infertile couples who could not get the chance to have children due to various health problems. Successfully, the new medical advancement has helped many infertile couples to exercise their right of reproduction when natural reproduction method has failed. These artificial methods have led to the growth of surrogacy using techniques of In Vitro Fertilization known as IVF.
Generally, this method of IVF is used due to male and female factors. The female factor occurs when the infertility for instance is the result of obstructed fallopian tubes blocking the egg to reach the uterus and grow. While male factors for instance occur when the sperm released by the man has less mobility preventing them to reach the egg or due to less required quantity of sperm a normal man should release. The identification of problems increases, the chance to have baby by artificial method, such as extraction of sperm samples and inject them in woman’s ripe egg and deposited in the womb of mother. The latter may be a genetic or biological mother depending on the consent of the couple or health possibility. This method of depositing a fertilized egg in the womb of another mother is called surrogacy. Surrogacy is one of methods wherein doctors grow a fetus in another woman’s womb, who has consented to bear the baby and relinquish him/her at birth.
Accordingly, Rwandan society sought that there should be an alternative way to procreate when natural method failed; as a result, Law regulating Persons and Family was amended to give the chance to those who have been unable to procreate through natural way to use artificial methods to exercise this most cherished fundamental human right namely right to reproduction.
However, the consent between the couples is always needed for medically Assisted Reproduction to be perfect accordingly to the article 254 of Rwandan Law Regulating Persons and Family.The above article states those who are in impossibility to procreate through natural way are freely allowed to choose any artificial method of reproduction and become parents.
The interest of amending previous Family law to insert medically assisted reproduction techniques under Law Nº32/2016 of 28/08/2016 governing Persons and Family reflects the paramount importance attributed to the fundamental right to reproduction by Rwandan Parliament and the desire to acquire the benefits brought by the evolution of science and technology.
Thus, this amendment has opened a new Pandora’s Box on various aspects of medicine, ethics, social and legal issues connected to new criminal offences, human rights and social issues, not only for the persons directly concerned but also to the society in general. Legally, the New Method is vacant and will bring new developments in legal literature such as surrogacy agreement on a commercial basis, offer that constitutes reward or profit for the gestational mother, sex selection, surrogate child to be recognized as legitimate child, birth certificate to contain names of intended parents, among others.
Thus despite the trend there is need to have the specific law governing Medically Assisted Reproduction such as surrogacy and parenthood resulting from surrogacy arrangements, despite the said single article 254 of Law Regulating Persons and Family threats in terms of applying this technology are more likely.
The Leeway side lies in the need to borrow best practices and model laws from developed countries such as Israel and Canada to be applied whenever same issues are experienced even though every jurisdiction establishes diverse methods to deal with its own problems.
Thus, the demand lies in the need to intricate the magnitude and concerns brought by medically assisted reproduction. Currently, the new trend requires the enactment of a specific legislation and adequate legal mechanisms of controls and regulations of this technology to deter likely misuse of the Artificial Reproductive Technologies such as surrogacy, storage and donation /transfer of gametes and embryos (sperm bank), surrogacy on commercial basis. However, the single article cannot regulate search a huge matter.
Dr. Murangira is the forensic legal expert at RNP/CID. He is also a senior lecturer and professional trainer at National Police College, ILPD, University of Kigali and Kigali Independent University.